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The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court has thrown out the $350,000 jury award of a verdict that found East Syracuse and DeWitt police responsible for the death of a man after they failed to find his killer hidden in a closet.

The decision unanimously reversed the verdict and dismissed a lawsuit filed by Gerald Hamill, father of Shawn Hamill, 24, who was stabbed to death May 18, 1985, by Jay Konseck in the East Syracuse apartment of Konseck's wife.

Two police officers had searched the apartment before Hamill entered, but they failed to find Konseck, who was crouched under clothes in a bedroom closet.

Konseck and Hamill had fought earlier, and Konseck's wife had told police her husband was in the apartment with a knife, but police allowed Hamill to enter it. The appeals court ruled that police officers did not establish a "special relationship" with Hamill in which they promised to protect him.

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